How Much Do Prescription Drugs Cost Without Insurance?

Category: Prescription Related Questions


Posted on July 23, 2021

Scott is passionate about health and wellness, and enjoys writing on various topic surrounding these fields. Scott lives in Seattle and spends his free time restoring old furniture and playing pickleball with his friends.

how much do prescription drugs cost without insurance

8% of Americans or 26.1 million people don't have any form of health insurance. This puts them at the risk of being unable to obtain necessary treatments and prescription drugs.

All of these citizens may wonder, "how much do prescription drugs cost without insurance?" The unfortunate fact is that there is no single answer. It depends on various factors such as what medications you get and where.

Knowing how much you'll have to pay is the best way to ensure you'll be able to get the right amount without making a huge dent in your wallet. Read our guide for an overview of how much insurance will cost you and how it will affect the price of your medications.

How Much Does Insurance Cost?

Obtaining health insurance can be a life-or-death choice. 34 million adults know a patient who died after not being able to receive treatment. 58 million adults are unable to pay for necessary prescription drugs.

Understanding the costs of your policy is the best way to avoid either of these unfortunate situations. The amount you pay will depend on factors such as where you live, the type of coverage you receive, and the premiums and deductibles your insurance company charges.

Where You Live

The country that you reside in is one of the most important factors that determines your rates. The average monthly cost for an individual to buy health insurance is $403 in the US and $160 in Canada. 

Your final costs also depend on which area of the country you live in. For Americans, insurance rates differ in each state. For example, the average 27-year-old will pay anywhere from $723 per month in Wyoming to $282.20 per month in New Mexico.

Canada uses a better system that allows it to keep costs low. The PRMB or Patented Medicine Prices Review Board ensures that drug prices are fair, informs citizens of prescription trends, and uses other countries to gauge a fair market value.

Drug manufacturers work to create lower rates to ensure they don't lose business. Once they set a price, Canadian Medicare adds 6% of extra coverage, leaving citizens responsible for only 20% of their prescription drug costs.

Look into the average insurance rates and drug costs in your area to ensure you're getting a fair deal. Your prices should match what your neighbors are getting and be enough to cover your needs.

Type of Insurance

There are several types of insurance to choose from provided from a range of different insurance companies and/or the government itself. Your taxes and paycheck go towards them, so you want to make sure you choose the best possible type for your needs.

At least 57% of American firms offer employer health coverage to at least some of their workers. This type of private insurance is one of the most common ways to get insurance.

Everyone in Canada gets basic emergency health insurance paid for by their taxes, but it's not always enough to cover all forms of care or every prescription drug. 

65% of Canadians have private insurance, often through their employers. Most of these additional policies cover:

  • Prescription medications
  • Dental care
  • Physiotherapy
  • Ambulance services
  • Prescription eyeglasses

Choose the right type of insurance and look at the details of your policy before signing on the dotted line. It's the best way to ensure you only pay for what you need and end up paying as little as possible for your crucial medications.


A deductible is a set amount that you must exceed before your insurance company will cover your costs. This applies to everything from a serious medical procedure to a single refill of a prescription drug.


If you're American, remember to consider health insurance deductibles when asking how much you'll pay. The average is $1,655 for a single worker, $2,271 for small firm employees, and $1,412 for large firm employees.


All of these factors determine how much you'll pay for prescription drugs with or without insurance. You need to know your deductible and premium before you fill your prescription to ensure you can afford your prescription.

How Much Do Prescription Drugs Cost Without Insurance?

Americans spend about $1,200 on prescription drugs each year, which is more than any other developed country in the world. This is partially because of the way their healthcare system works.

Prices differ, but knowing everything that affects your final costs in advance is one of the best ways to save money. Factors that affect your medication costs include the type and amount of medication you receive.


Buying in bulk is a useful money-saving strategy for all necessities. It's usually associated with groceries, but it's just as useful for medication.

Bulk orders save you money in the long run by limiting the amount of times you have to return to the pharmacy and pay for a refill. They're a useful way to get around limits in your insurance policy that will only pay for the same prescription a certain number of times.

Bulk purchasing allows you to have as much as you need ready at all times. This is an important consideration for critical daily medications like insulin injections. It's also helpful for occasional medications as well.

For most prescription drugs, a 60-day supply costs only slightly more than a 30-day supply. A 2 or 3-month supply can be an even more economical option.

Splitting higher dosages of medications into the amount you require is another way to save money. If you need to take 2000mg per day, try buying a 4000mg supply and cutting each pill in half so that you have twice as many doses.

Brand Name vs. Generic

84% of prescriptions filled in America are for a generic medication. They're an easily available, equally effective alternative for most popular medications. The choice between these two types of medications would be a matter of preference if they didn't affect your final price so much.

There are several differences between generic and brand-name options. Lower competition leads to lower prices, saving Americans approximately $1.67 trillion.

Certain insurance policies don't cover generic alternatives but, if yours does, it may be the most affordable option for you. It's also a great choice for anyone without insurance who needs to carefully manage their budget.

How Should You Buy Prescriton Drugs?

Your insurance policy and medication needs are only the first two considerations when determining how much your prescriptions will cost. You also need to look into the provider you're purchasing them from.

You have several options when deciding where to get your prescription drugs. You can compare prices at pharmacies, rely on your health insurance, use co-pays, or look for a reputable online pharmacy.

Pharmacy Price Comparison

Traditional pharmacies are one of the most common options for getting medication refills because they're readily available. The downside is that they're not the most affordable and aren't transparent in their pricing.

You may see differences in the hundreds of dollars depending on which pharmacy you use. They need to cover their operational costs when pricing their products, but these vary widely from store to store. This translates to different prices for consumers.

Chain stores like CVS and Rite Aid are the most expensive options with and without insurance. It's best to avoid these familiar powerhouses and search for a more affordable provider.



Answering a question like how much do prescription drugs cost without insurance involves determining how much they cost with insurance. Look at your premium and the price of the drug you need to see if you'll actually be saving any money. If not, consider a new policy or other money-saving methods to help reduce costs.

There are several reasons not to rely solely on insurance when purchasing medications. 

Health insurance companies and Plan D Medicare have a limited list of medications they cover. They won't cover a drug until it's approved by the FDA, and if the prescription you need to fill isn't on their list, you'll have to pay for it out of pocket.

Insurance companies abritraily place medications into categories with similar alternatives and usually cover the cheapest option. You're still required to pay for more expensive options yourself.

Knowing how much your insurance policy covers is helpful, but it may not be enough. Be sure to look into other options to get the best final price.



Co-Pay Cards

Co-pays are an unfortunate part of most insurance plans. They allow the company to only pay a percentage of the cost of your medication and treatments, leaving you to cover the rest. 

A co-pay assistance card or savings program can help with these costs. You can get one from a drug manufacturer, pharmacist, or healthcare provider. Present it to your pharmacist when purchasing the medication for savings on your final bill.

Co-pay cards are unfortunately only available to those with private or commercial insurance and no government insurance like Medicaid or Medicare. Certain states like California don't allow them to be used at all when a generic alternative for the drug you're trying to save money on is available.

The cards also come with limits on how often they can be used and how much savings they can provide. They expire after a period of time as well, which can leave you without the benefits you once enjoyed.

A co-pay card can help reduce the costs you need to pay with insurance, but they're restrictive and don't provide the best savings. There are much better methods for getting your medications at a better price.


Online Pharmacies 

American drug prices are one of the highest in the world, which is why many residents go out of the country to fill their prescriptions.


An online Canadian pharmacy is better than your traditional counter, insurance policy, or co-pay card alone. It costs up to 88% less and offers useful discount coupons. 

Despite the benefits they provide, you need to do research to ensure you find a reputable online Canadian pharmacy. 

Look at the prices they charge for the medication you need, what type of insurance they take, and how much of a supply they can provide. Remember to check shipping costs to ensure that you're not paying too much to have your medication sent to America.

The online pharmacy must also be accredited and verified by Pharmacy Checker. This is the best way to ensure you're not getting ripped off.

Once you've found the right online pharmacy, set up an account and make an order. They'll send you the medication you need, and you can rest easy knowing you'll be paying less than you would in America.

What's the difference in medication costs in Canada and the US?

For many prescriptions, buying from another country can give you astronomical savings of 50% or more. A simple price comparison is enough to show the possibilities.

A few examples of the many medications that cost less in Canada include:

  • Gleevec for cancer treatment:
    • $6200 a month in America
    • $552 in Canada
  • Viagra for erectile dysfunction:
    • $60-70 per pill in America
    • $30 per pill in America for the generic alternative Sildenafil
    • $11.25 per pill for Sildenafil in Canada
  • Cymbalta for depression
    • $200 per month in America
    • $50 per month in Canada
  • Xarelto for blood clots
    • $550 per month in America
    • 50% less or more in Canada
  • EpiPens for allergic reactions
    • Over $100 per dose in America
    • $200 for 2 EpiPens in Canda
  • Januvia for diabetes
    • $400 per month in America
    • $100 per month in Canada
  • Tecfidera for multiple sclerosis
    • $6,000 for 60 pills or $100 per dose in America
    • $25 per pill or $1,100 for a 60-day supply in Canada
  • Advair for asthma
    • $400 per inhaler in America with coupons or insurance
    • Less than $100 in Canada

No matter what type of prescription drug you need, you can save money by trusting a reputable Canadian online pharmacy.



Where Can I Get the Best Prescription Drug Prices?

Several factors play into a question like, "how much do prescription drugs cost without insurance?" It depends on where you are, what your insurance policy includes, which medications you need, and more.

There are several ways to ensure you get the best price. Begin by getting the best possible insurance policy that covers everything you need. Continue by choosing the right type and amount of your medication and finding the best online pharmacy to purchase it from.

PricePro Pharmacy is a reputable Canadian distributor of a range of prescription medications. Contact us today to find what you need at the best possible price, with or without insurance.

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